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A case for self-support: serving ourselves in a time of great stress

April 30, 2021

"How are you doing?" I asked a donor on a phone call last summer. Her response stayed with me. "I'm doing pandemic fine," she said, before explaining that that was the kind of response one gives during a public health... read more

5 Questions for...Frances Sykes, President and CEO, Pascale Sykes Foundation

April 27, 2021

For much of its existence, the New Jersey-based Pascale Sykes Foundation has worked to strengthen low-income working families in the New Jersey/New York region through what it calls the Whole Family Approach, a preventive (as opposed to crisis-driven) strategy that... read more

The next Silicon Valley must-have? A private foundation

April 23, 2021

While the pandemic may have shuttered businesses across the country, Silicon Valley tech companies have defied the odds. In 2020, IPO capital raising hit its highest level in a decade. Start-up valuations soared, and blockbuster IPOs, like the one for... read more

Social issues are getting personal

April 21, 2021

I’ve talked in this space about how social issue engagement builds from what interests and engages us: we educate ourselves, get motivated to act, then look for like-minded people to join in pushing for change. In the recent past, research... read more

5 Questions for...Pete Gurt, president, Milton Hershey School and Catherine Hershey Schools

April 19, 2021

Unable to have children, chocolate magnate Milton Hershey and his wife, Catherine, established the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania, in 1909 as a boarding school for orphaned boys. A decade later, Hershey created a $60 million endowment for the... read more

More Americans may be going back to work, but their jobs are getting worse

April 16, 2021

Last April, the coronavirus pandemic brought the longest economic expansion in American history to an abrupt and shocking halt. In just a few short months, the unemployment rate shot up from a fifty-year low of 3.5 percent to nearly 14.7... read more

The 7 Recruiting Principles of Highly Effective Nonprofit Boards

April 15, 2021

The challenges of governing a nonprofit are often more complicated than those faced by board members of similar-sized for-profit entities. This is because nonprofit board members are called upon to be trustees of the public good, voices for their communities,... read more

5 Questions for...Carly Bad Heart Bull, Executive Director, Native Ways Federation

April 13, 2021

Carly Bad Heart Bull joined the Native Ways Federation (NWF) in April 2020 as its executive director. Launched in 2006 in Longmont, Colorado, by the American Indian College Fund, American Indian Science and Engineering Society, Association on American Indian Affairs,... read more

Getting rid of standardized testing will penalize kids from underserved schools 

April 09, 2021

For the first time in half a century, the University of California will admit thousands of high school seniors who did not take the SAT or ACT. With the coronavirus pandemic impeding students' ability to safely sit for the exams,... read more

What does ‘Jumanji’ have to do with advocacy?

April 08, 2021

Released in movie theaters twenty-six years ago, Jumanji became an instant classic. In the movie, an ominous drumbeat called to unsuspecting players as they neared the mysterious game, drawing them into its world. In 2017, the movie’s success was rebooted... read more

11 questions you should always ask a recruiter

April 06, 2021

Rather than ignoring the next email or call you get from a recruiter, think of it as a learning opportunity — even if you aren’t seriously considering leaving your current position. In most cases, the experience will help you learn... read more

Jobs for America’s Graduates supports our nation’s most vulnerable students

March 29, 2021

Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) was founded forty years ago to address the inequities experienced by too many young adults in America. Over those four decades, JAG participants have shown that a well-executed model can help those historically held back... read more

Supporting the South's small businesses is supporting an equitable recovery

March 26, 2021

Like the rest of the nation, small businesses across the South have faced unprecedented challenges since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of them saw demand drop and had to close their doors as their reserves were depleted. The... read more

Empathetic leadership during the storm

March 17, 2021

"Lead with an iron fist," said some. "Never let them see you cry," others recommended. "You were born to lead," many affirmed. Countless people have offered advice and encouragement to me as a leader over the years. Yet the idea... read more

To save lives, fund syringes

March 15, 2021

When COVID-19 struck, the United States was already facing a number of public health crises, with national rates of overdose, HIV, and viral hepatitis rising due to increases in substance use linked with a surge in prescription opioids. The pandemic... read more

What COVID-19 has taught us about investing in public health

March 12, 2021

COVID-19 continues to pose novel challenges to health systems around the world. With the rapid depletion of stockpiles of personal protective equipment (PPE) and severe shortages of physical space in which to care for those affected by this perplexing and... read more

Are you inspiring action for change with both a short- and long-term approach?

March 05, 2021

When I talk with organizations about what they are doing to inspire action for change, they often tell me how they use stories about impact to keep their most loyal donors and supporters motivated. Typically, this involves a communication plan... read more

Philanthropy is contributing billions to Indian development, but who is counting?

March 02, 2021

It is an exciting time for philanthropy in India, especially institutional philanthropy. The sector has come a long way since 1892, when the Tata group established one of the first philanthropic trusts in the country, the JN Tata Endowment. More... read more

5 Questions for...Helene Gayle, President and CEO, Chicago Community Trust

February 26, 2021

In Chicago, recovery from the Great Recession was uneven, the lingering economic impacts of the downturn most keenly felt by low-income individuals and Black and Latinx communities. A dozen years on, the COVID-19 pandemic has been equally as devastating for... read more

Balancing long-term thinking, short-term metrics, and flexible project planning

February 24, 2021

Over the past several decades, a number of different critiques of nonprofit work have emerged. Inevitably, these critiques have a strong basis — they identify real and specific issues in how nonprofits work — but collectively they may present a... read more

Charter schools have contributed to education equality and saved lives

February 22, 2021

For African Americans, learning and knowledge has been — and continues to be — the drumline of survival and success. Enslaved black families knew this. It's why they risked severe punishment by breaking laws that forbid them learning how to... read more

Climate philanthropy beyond the check: holding banks accountable

February 18, 2021

Climate philanthropists are often called on to support grassroots activists fighting fossil fuel projects in their backyards — like the Black community in Louisiana's Cancer Alley that is protesting the siting of yet another petrochemical plant or the Standing Rock... read more

Business must do more to restore our democracy — and philanthropy must help

February 12, 2021

On January 6, we witnessed an unprecedented attack on American democracy — the culmination of a sustained campaign to undermine the integrity of the November 2020 election and, ultimately, overturn the will of the people. While our democracy withstood the... read more

[Review] 'It's A Helluva Town: Joan K. Davidson, the J.M. Kaplan Fund and the Fight for a Better New York'

February 11, 2021

It's A Helluva Town: Joan K. Davidson, the J.M. Kaplan Fund and the Fight for a Better New York by Roberta Brandes Gratz tells the story of how one person and a small family foundation were able to create outsize... read more

Charitable gifts may not actually be gifts...yet

February 10, 2021

Much is made of large charitable gifts, and sometimes rightly so. But often philanthropists claim to be giving much more than they actually are. Due to a quirk in the tax laws, they can claim their charitable tax deduction long... read more

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that local organizations are our best bet in fighting hunger

February 04, 2021

Five years ago, less than 2 percent of funds for humanitarian causes went directly to local and national NGOs, despite the incredible efficiency of these organizations in delivering impactful work at times of great need. Progress has been made —... read more

2020: A year to remember

February 03, 2021

I've spoken often about how people get involved in social causes. And despite the turmoil we experienced in 2020 and the competing demands on our attention, I believe more strongly than ever that social issue engagement begins and deepens in... read more

The Audacity of Joe Biden

February 01, 2021

In her victory speech on November 7, 2020, then-Vice President-elect Kamala Harris spoke of Joe Biden’s audacity in selecting a woman — a Black and Asian-American woman, no less — as his running mate. The turn of phrase brought to... read more

Growing pains & possibilities: planning for growth in your foundation

January 29, 2021

Let's imagine a typical foundation started by successful businesspeople in order to make charitable contributions each year to a small constellation of nonprofits in their community. Fast-forward a couple of decades and the founders have achieved more financial success than... read more

What we know about the nonprofits that received grants from MacKenzie Scott

January 28, 2021

In December, MacKenzie Scott announced a round of giving that was striking for its scale: $4.2 billion across 384 organizations. It was also striking in its approach: Scott made a set of large, unrestricted — and unsolicited — grants to... read more

Quote of the Week

  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."


    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

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